Toward a Community Impact Assessment for Food Policy Councils: Identifying Potential Impact Domains


  • Larissa Calancie University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Kristen Cooksey-Stowers University of Connecticut
  • Anne Palmer Johns Hopkins University
  • Natasha Frost, J.D. Public Health Law Center
  • Holly Calhoun Public Health Institute
  • Abbey Piner North Carolina State University
  • Karen Webb University of California, Berkeley



Food Policy Council, Food System, Food Policy, Equity, Nutrition, Sustainability, Economic Development, Local Agriculture, Natural Resources, Collaboration


Food policy councils (FPCs) are collaboratives that work to strengthen food systems. Over 300 FPCs exist in the United States, Canada, and Tribal Nations. In 2015, we surveyed the types of initia­tives FPCs undertook and identified food sector targets and domains of potential impact in an effort to inform comprehensive FPC impact assessments. FPCs (N=66) reported 317 policy, systems, and environmental initiatives. At least half of these were focused on food production, and many were focused on institutional food service and the food assistance sectors. Commercial food service, food processing, and food waste were less often the focus. Potential impacts of their initia­tives were classified into six domains: supporting resilient food systems (235, 74%); increasing access to healthy foods (171, 54%); supporting economic development (115, 36%); promoting equity in the food system (94, 30%); promoting environmental sustainability (82, 26%); and increasing knowledge of or demand for healthy foods (27, 9%). Many initiatives were likely to impact multiple domains.


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Author Biographies

Larissa Calancie, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Center for Health Equity Research, Department of Social Medicine, School of Medicine

Kristen Cooksey-Stowers, University of Connecticut

Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

Anne Palmer, Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Bloomberg School of Public Health

Natasha Frost, J.D., Public Health Law Center

St. Paul, MN

Holly Calhoun, Public Health Institute

Oakland, CA

Abbey Piner, North Carolina State University

Department of Horticultural Science

Karen Webb, University of California, Berkeley

Nutrition Policy Institute



How to Cite

Calancie, L., Cooksey-Stowers, K., Palmer, A., Frost, N., Calhoun, H., Piner, A., & Webb, K. (2018). Toward a Community Impact Assessment for Food Policy Councils: Identifying Potential Impact Domains. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 8(3), 123–136.



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